After almost 3 years away, I still miss New York City. I miss the people, I miss our neighborhood, I miss the excitement, I miss the city itself. There really is no place like it.
But there is one thing we would have never had in New York.
A backyard like this.
When we moved in last summer our backyard was a dry, dusty mess. I loved the layout and was excited for a fenced in yard with easy access for the kids (something we didn't have in Cincy) but it looked dead. Don't worry, it'll come back, our landlord said of the grass. I wasn't so sure, patchy and brown as it was. But thanks to many wonderful and much needed spring rainstorms, come back it did.
After some weeding, mowing, planting and the buying of a picnic table, this once sad looking backyard space has become quite the little haven for our family.
Sometimes the girls beg to go out first thing in the morning. Still in their jammies, they're ready to bask in the sparse morning sun and the already warm morning air. Consistant with the vintage theme of the actual house I love the old school swingset and the dilapidated fence. I love the rope swing hanging from the big tree and I love the half gravel half lawn thing we've got going on. Honestly I did not think Texas was capable of lush thick lawn that you can walk in barefoot. I thought Texas was only capable of patchy crabgrass...now I know. And as Jo says, knowing is half the battle.
And let's talk a little more about the picnic table. It's nothing fancy, just a picnic table but please, someone explain to me the magic that is eating outdoors. Eating outdoors = automatic special memory making. Just like charcoal grilling = automatic amazing tasting food. The picnic table very well may be the best investment in family happy times we've ever made.
And if I may be so bold, I'd like to recommend (read: insist) you make this tasty dish... if you're gonna grill anytime soon please make these grilled sweet potatoes with lime and cilantro (minus a little salt...way too much salt Bobby!) and then make the honey lime dipping sauce from this recipe. Mercy.
Additionally, our backyard has also been transformed into a popular local swimming joint.
Popular with a certain 5 year old that is. You would think this is some sort of luxury backyard swimming pool complete with wet bar and waterfall for as excited as she gets about it. This is her heaven.
Little sister...well she's still a little fickle fanny when it comes to the pool and the heat. But add a container of water a bucket of toys and she's good to go.
Our move to Texas was hard for a lot of reasons, one being that it was our 3rd move in less than 6 years. And frankly I was (am) tired of making new friends. Four of our seven years as a married couple/family were spent in NYC and when we finally left there I felt like I had (and fortunately still have) some really, really good friends. It takes time to make really, really good friends. Moving after only 2 short years in Cincinnati--where I also developed some great, solid friendships--was rough. I've been a bit more of a loner these days. I do have a couple of good friends here, thankfully, but that's much more to their credit than mine as I was much less willing to jump right in with the Hey how's it going? Where you from? Let's hang out! etc. And I'm a person who firmly believes in the importance of friends. I love friends, I need friends.
But what this little friend famine has brought into focus is this beautiful, wonderful and amazing family of mine. Don't ask me how the love I have for my family--as a whole and as individuals--has grown, but I'm certain it has. I don't think I've ever felt this grateful to have and to belong to a family. And while I generally dislike the practice of 1:00 church, I love our lazy Sunday mornings...today it was family music time. Guitars come out, as do tambourines, kazoos, harmonica's and other clickity-clackity noise makers. We're a regular Von Trapp family.
And when a Sunday starts like this....
And ends like this...
You know it's been a good day.